Emergence of Kawasaki disease related to SARS-CoV-2 infection in an epicentre of the French COVID-19 epidemic: a time-series analysis.Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2020 09; 4(9):662-668.LC
Kawasaki disease is an acute febrile systemic childhood vasculitis, which is suspected to be triggered by respiratory viral infections. We aimed to examine whether the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is associated with an increase in the incidence of Kawasaki disease.
We did a quasi-experimental interrupted time series analysis over the past 15 years in a tertiary paediatric centre in the Paris region, a French epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. The main outcome was the number of Kawasaki disease cases over time, estimated by quasi-Poisson regression. In the same centre, we recorded the number of hospital admissions from the emergency department (2005-2020) and the results of nasopharyngeal multiplex PCR to identify respiratory pathogens (2017-2020). These data were compared with daily hospital admissions due to confirmed COVID-19 in the same region, recorded by Public Health France.
Between Dec 1, 2005, and May 20, 2020, we included 230 patients with Kawasaki disease. The median number of Kawasaki disease hospitalisations estimated by the quasi-Poisson model was 1·2 per month (IQR 1·1-1·3). In April, 2020, we identified a rapid increase of Kawasaki disease that was related to SARS-CoV-2 (six cases per month; 497% increase [95% CI 72-1082]; p=0·0011), starting 2 weeks after the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic. SARS-CoV-2 was the only virus circulating intensely during this period, and was found in eight (80%) of ten patients with Kawasaki disease since April 15 (SARS-CoV-2-positive PCR or serology). A second peak of hospital admissions due to Kawasaki disease was observed in December, 2009 (six cases per month; 365% increase ([31-719]; p=0.0053), concomitant with the influenza A H1N1 pandemic.
Our study further suggests that viral respiratory infections, including SAR-CoV-2, could be triggers for Kawasaki disease and indicates the potential timing of an increase in incidence of the disease in COVID-19 epidemics. Health-care providers should be prepared to manage an influx of patients with severe Kawasaki disease, particularly in countries where the peak of COVID-19 has recently been reached.
French National Research Agency.